We’ve been talking for some time about having a reunion with four great ladies we met on our recent Amazon trip and finally we did it. We met up in Tampa where Jane, Janice and Sandra live and Mary Ann flew in from Wisconsin. Although we had many interesting and thoughtful discussions, much laughter and caipirinhas to drink, our main emphasis was on visiting Zoo Tampa and the Center for Great Apes (CGA) where our Florida friends volunteer their time.
First up was Zoo Tampa . The two highlights there were getting the inside scoop on the orangutans and an up close and personal experience with the tortoises.We were delighted to meet Winston who was the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s creation of E.T.
The next day we were privileged to spend time at the Center for Great Apes, which is not open to the public. This was a very moving and emotional experience where we felt sad and hopeful at the same time. CGA is a sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees that have been rescued from lives of abuse or neglect. Many of these situations were in the entertainment industry. At CGA, they are allowed to live out their lives in an atmosphere of comfort and caring and with no expectations other than to live naturally.
Our biggest takeaway is “what you see is NOT what you get.” When you see a disclaimer that no animal has been harmed in the making of a particular film, it may be the case but it doesn’t tell the true story of what happens to non-domesticated animals before and after the making of the film.
We are so lucky to have met these ladies – new friendships always lead to enriching our lives. All in all, it was a WONDERFUL WEEK.